Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve had from callers to our Dementia Oxfordshire Helpline. For more information about these and other issues related to dementia call 01865 401 210, Monday - Friday 9am - 6pm and speak to one of our Dementia Advisers.
1. I have a friend who is having memory problems and lives alone; they’re now finding it difficult to cope with things at home. How could I help them to find out what’s wrong?
You could encourage them to go and see their GP but if they are unwilling to do this you can write to their GP and ask them to contact your neighbour directly. The GP should then give them some tests to make sure there is no physical problems that are affecting their memory and if not, refer them to their local Memory Clinic where they could be diagnosed and helped.
2. My wife has dementia, are there any benefits she could claim?
She could claim Attendance Allowance, a non means tested state benefit, if she meets the right criteria. We can discuss this with you and arrange help with the application. If she is awarded Attendance Allowance she could claim a reduction on her Council Tax (called an “SMI discount”). We can also carry out a Benefits Review to see if there is anything else you and your wife may be entitled to.
3. What services are available in my area and how can I access them?
Each area will have differing levels of support from lunch clubs, memory clubs and day centres to befriending services and specialist activities for people with dementia such as Singing for the Brain and Memory Cafes and in some areas “Lights Up” arts based activity clubs. We also have a wide range of exercise and relaxation classes which may be suitable in your area that we can tell you about. You could start by looking through our Community Information Network Directory. If you do an “advanced search” you can even pick out just the dementia specialist activities.
4. My Dad is very confused and not coping with his paperwork and his finances. What can I do?
If your Dad still has the understanding (often referred to as “mental capacity”) to make this decision, you could ask him to give someone in his family or someone he can trust a Lasting Power of Attorney. We are now able to offer the Health & Welfare part of a Lasting Power of Attorney, free of charge. If Dad no longer has the mental capacity you will need to contact the Court of Protection and apply to become a “Deputy”. You may also like to talk to Dad about making an Advance Decision, similar to a Living Will, we can also provide you with practical support and information on this as well.
5. I sometimes feel I can’t carry on caring for my relative as I feel so exhausted.
As a carer you need to make sure you look after yourself. This is often very hard to do as you are always thinking about the person you are caring for. Make sure you discuss things with your GP and see what help they can offer you. Carers Oxfordshire can help unpaid carers with advice, information and support and can help you avoid a crisis or carer breakdown. Help is offered on entitlements, completing a carers self-assessment, emergency back up, employment, looking after yourself and training.
We also facilitate a number of Dementia Carers Support Groups in Oxfordshire where you can go for emotional support and talk to others who understand how you are feeling and may well have experienced the same feelings as you. Groups can offer education through a range of professional speakers, social opportunities and ongoing information on caring for someone with dementia to include updates on dementia research.
6. I need to start looking at care homes for my partner but I don’t know where to start.
Social Services can offer you support – you will need to contact them to find out how much. They will make an assessment of the persons needs and then discuss finances with you, they may also provide you with information on care homes. We can offer some advice on what is involved which you may find helpful.
We can also supply you with lists of care homes in your preferred area and give you some guidance as to what to look for when looking for a care home for someone with dementia
A Memory Album – a selection of photographs and life story – can be prepared to take into the care home. Explain to the care home that you want to stay involved in your loved ones care and ask them what they think is the best way to do this.
Dementia Oxfordshire is here to help you with advice on all aspects of dementia support and what is available in your area. We can also connect you into our wide network of services to give you the help you need.
Contact Dementia Oxfordshire either by phone on 01865 410 210 or email at email@example.com.